SHANGHAI, July 8 (Reuters) – Tesla (TSLA.O) in June achieved its highest monthly sales of China-made vehicles since opening its Shanghai plant in 2019, data showed on Friday, as the U.S. carmaker ramped up output which had been hit by the city’s COVID-19 lockdown.
Tesla sold 78,906 China-made vehicles in June, including 968 for export, the China Passenger Car Association(CPCA) said. In May it sold 32,165 vehicles and exported 22,340.
Tesla also achieved the highest monthly output at its Shanghai plant in June, added CPCA’s Secretary General Cui Dongshu, without giving a specific number.
COVID restrictions in Shanghai in the April-June quarter had hobbled Tesla’s output there while its new factories in Berlin and Texas struggled to increase output.
CEO Elon Musk had urged staff to work harder to make up for the losses at the end of the “very tough” quarter after China’s zero-COVID lockdowns caused deeper disruptions to output than he had predicted.
The Shanghai plant, which manufactures Model 3s and Model Ys, reopened on April 19 but only resumed full production in mid-June.
China’s overall passenger car sales in June totalled 1.97 million, up 22% from a year earlier helped by government measures, CPCA said. Cui expected car sales in July to increase by around 20% from a year ago, while demand could further strengthen in the fourth quarter, leading to strong growth for the whole year.
Sales of electric cars accounted for 27% of the total in June and increased 130.8%, CPCA added.
With 52,557 delivered in June, Tesla’s Model Y ranked the best-selling model among all passenger vehicles for the first time. It has a starting price of 316,900 yuan ($47,311), surpassing the 28,800-yuan Wuling Hongguang Mini EV.
BYD (002594.SZ), which makes both pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids, led the EV players with 133,762 cars delivered in June.
China cut the purchase tax for small-engined vehicles by half on June 1 and local governments including Beijing and Shanghai have also offered subsidies or added car ownership quotas to boost sales.
China on Thursday announced a raft of new measures to spur demand for cars, saying it would consider extending a tax break for electric vehicles and outlining plans to build more charging stations and encourage lower charging fees.
($1 = 6.6983 Chinese yuan renminbi)